JAKARTA, 26 February 2019 – Vice President Jusuf Kalla of Indonesia opened the first seminar promoting accountability and transparency in ASEAN in Jakarta this morning. The seminar was jointly organised by ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) and ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).
The three organisations emphasised the need to build connections beyond the government level to promote accountability and transparency in ASEAN in order to benefit the people. With the support of the German Government, through the “ASEC 2025″, “Support to ASEANSAI” and “AIPA4ASEAN” projects implemented by GIZ, the seminar brought together around 100 senior officials and representatives of the three organisations and other entities in ASEAN.
“For decades, ASEAN has proven itself to be one of the world’s regional organisations which has been successful in developing and maintaining cooperation in various sectors. Cooperation in auditing is important for us to have transparent and accountable systems within our countries. I hope this seminar, which will share practices and learned lessons from each (ASEAN) country, will bring greater good for all of us,” the Vice President said.
In his remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, Dr AKP Mochtan, commended the timely convening of the seminar, which he believes will contribute greatly to the advancement of the ASEAN Community as a whole. He highlighted that governments and public institutions usually use regulations to promote accountability and transparency. In this regard, he urged all ASEAN agencies to work together with the ASEAN Secretariat and to reinforce the importance of promoting good governance which is a critical feature in the “ASEAN 2025 Vision: Forging Ahead Together.”
Chairperson of ASEANSAI and President of the State Audit Organization of Lao PDR Dr. Viengthong Siphandone expressed her appreciation for the initiative to co-organise this event. “Ten Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) in ASEAN have established the regional association ASEANSAI, in 2011 in Bali, to promote capacity building in public sector auditing of its members. This way, ASEANSAI is contributing to the improvement of transparency and accountability in Southeast Asia,” she said.
Dr. Siphandone further explained that SAIs in ASEAN have contributed to the audit of financial statements of the ASEAN Secretariat every year. Supreme Audit Institution plays a prominent role in promoting efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration. She said, “with the support of parliaments and governments, as SAI’s main partners, SAIs will perform their role more efficiently and effectively in their respective countries.” Dr. Siphandone assured ASEANSAI’s commitment to build future cooperation with ASEC and AIPA, to promote transparency and accountability in Southeast Asia.
AIPA Secretary-General Isra Sunthornvut appreciated the ASEANSAI for initiating a joint event on such important issue. He acknowledged the importance of having accountability for parliaments as well as having internal mechanism in each country for accountability to happen. According to him, however, applying accountability to regional organisations like ASEAN, ASEANSAI and AIPA, where public interest needs to be built up, remained a challenge. Who and how to set the standard were other challenges, he added. Further, he stated that to make these regional organisations more people-oriented and people-centred, there has to be not only more people participation, but also willingness from the organisations to be scrutinised and checked.
During the seminar, participants identified good practices in their work to promote transparency and accountability of the public sector. They explored common interests and opportunities for future collaboration between ASEC, ASEANSAI and AIPA to strengthen relationships and synergies of their works to contribute to Good (Financial) Governance in ASEAN.
This inaugural event of cooperation among the three ASEAN entities is expected to result in concrete proposals for collaborative action in the future to jointly work towards more transparency and accountability in the region. More information about the seminar can be found on www.aseansai.org and www.aipasecretariat.org.